This Wayback Wednesday we are actually looking ahead, to this weekend. Here in the US, we are celebrating Memorial Day on Monday, May 25th. Memorial day is a holiday dedicated to honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day following the Civil War, it was not until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress.
During our archival photo quest, we came across numerous rowing connections to the military. We of course couldn't do this week's feature without highlighting Navy. The first boat club at Navy was introduced during the summer of 1867. Just two years later in 1869, Navy competed in their first race against Quaker City Boat Club in the first outside sports competition for Navy.
Jumping ahead to the start of WWII, our next set of photos feature Navy rowers training during the summer of 1942. The US declared war against the Axis powers December of 1941, during July 1942 when these photos were taken, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the establishment of the War Production Board
. Its purpose was to convert the factories of peacetime industries into manufacturing plants for weapons and military equipment.
The next set of photos feature veteran craftsman who transitioned from their old job making rowing shells to producing life rafts and instrument coverings for the Navy.
If you have any old school rowing images we should check out and are allowed to share, please send them to us